Sunday, March 18, 2012


My crowdsourcing experiment worked out well- you all convinced me that Colorado in early May with a 5 year old and 2.5 year old would probably not be the best choice. I listed out the other places we can fly to non-stop from San Diego, and we looked at the list and our map and decided to visit San Antonio and Austin, instead. Depending on how the trip plans out, we might head down to somewhere on the Gulf, too. My husband (who desperately needs a new blog name- he hates Hubby, and I hate typing out "my husband" every time I want to talk about him) is lobbying for including Houston, so he can go see the space center. I've got a couple of guide books, and am about to start the planning. If you have any ideas on what we should see and do in that part of Texas, leave them in the comments!

I haven't figured out where to go for our getaway, but I got a lot of ideas, and @Calee sent me a link to an Orange County post that describes a getaway that we might do in the future, if we don't do it for my 40th.


Pumpkin LOVED her first soccer lesson in the new, more competitive class.  She did not notice that several of her friends are quite a bit better at soccer than she is, and I'm certainly not going to point it out to her. Anyway, she's not the worst at soccer, either, despite her father's worries about her "ball skills."

Pumpkin also loves having all the soccer gear, so I guess I should stop being a grump about it. It is startling, though, to look out across the field and see her running around in real soccer gear, with her hair pulled back in a ponytail, just like the big girl soccer players. A lot of her day care friends are in the same class, and I look at them all running around and can't believe how big they look, how much like kids instead of the babies I remember them as.


One of the other moms at soccer was also pretty startling to see. She is friends with one of the moms in the day care crowd, but her child isn't in our day care, so I'd never met her before. Her child, in fact, refused to play soccer- she had been signed up for the class Pumpkin played in last year, and screamed and clung to her mother when her mom tried to get her to play. When I saw that the "little kid" class was right next to the "big kid" class, I tried to convince Petunia to play in the little kid class, and she would have none of it. Who knew a soccer class could be so scary? Petunia LOVES kicking the ball around at home.

Anyway, this mom was painfully thin. Not, "gee, she must have a high metabolism" thin, but thin enough that my first thought when I saw her was that perhaps she has an eating disorder. Her legs were honestly about the same size as my arms. I could tell this because she was wearing leggings. Of course, I have no idea why she is so thin. Maybe that's just the way her body is. But she did not look healthy- her eyes looked sunken. Her little girl, on the other hand, did look healthy- so hooray for her if she indeed does have an eating disorder and is not passing that to her little girl. I can't imagine navigating the rough waters of feeding toddlers and preschoolers if I had eating issues of my own.

I realized that I'd rather be in my situation (trying to lose ten pounds) than in hers, any day, whatever the reason for her extreme thinness.  I was surprised to find myself so comfortable in my own skin.

And then I grabbed a handful of the Cheetos someone had brought, because they are yummy.


Petunia is getting more intelligible, but she still has many, many adorable toddlerisms. She asks for her "cue-kick" instead of her music, and at dinner time she usually wants to sit in my "wap". She knows the signs for all the colors (and a lot of other things- the fact that she's been slow to become intelligible when speaking has meant that she's kept using signs), and she's been teaching them to her day care teacher, which is amusing all of us.

She can count to five, and even higher if you don't notice that she always skips "seven" and often skips all they way to "seventeen" for some reason. She also knows most of her letters, and every time she sees the letter her name starts with, she points it out and reminds us it is "for Petunia".

I think the cutest thing she does right now, though, is sing and dance along to Pumpkin's Dance & Learn Chinese DVD. Pumpkin can sing all the songs, and Petunia tries very hard and does surprisingly well. And she loves doing the dances with Pumpkin.

A close second is how she reads Blue Hat, Green Hat, a Sandra Boynton book my parents recently gave her.

"Re' shirt, boo shirt, lehlow shirt.. POOTS!"


We're at a fairly happy time in sibling relations. Petunia often wants to do whatever her big sister is doing, and Pumpkin is not yet old enough or bored enough with the phenomenon to protest most of the time- so we get a lot of heart-meltingly cute "sisters playing together" moments. They will both run around the backyard flapping their arms and yelling "fly! fly!" Or, Pumpkin will start singing and acting out a song about taking baby steps and then taking big steps, and Petunia will run over to join in.

They still yell at each other, though, and today they got in a huge pout contest over whose turn it was to play with one of the trains- so don't be fooled into having a second kid on my account.


  1. I hope the painfully thin mom isn't battling medical hell - cancer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, etc - there are a lot of hellish diseases that can result in dramatic and unfortunate (and unintentional) weight loss. A friend of mine has been hospitalized multiple times for ulcerative colitis the past few years and is struggling to actually get her body to process nutrients... pretty sure she's painfully aware of how sickly she looks, sadly. But it would break my heart if people think she's struggling with an eating disorder. Likewise a (male) coworker battled Crohn's disease and kind of looked like a Holocaust victim because he was so painfully thin, until he had surgery for Crohn's disease and they removed part of his intestine, I think.

    Also, I'm curious about when/how/why you taught Petunia to sign - I think it's really interesting and am curious about the story behind it, I assume there's a post about it here somewhere, but didn't see it offhand.

    1. You are right that there could be a medical condition at play. Although, I'd argue that an eating disorder is a medical condition, too, and no more deserving of judgement than ulcerative colitis. The people I've known who were self-conscious of their thinness would never have worn leggings as pants like she was wearing- it makes the thinness impossible to miss in a way that jeans or sweat pants do not.

      But regardless- my point was less about her and more about how seeing her made me realize that I am actually comfortable in my own (slightly too big) skin- which was genuinely surprising to me, since I didn't used to be.

      On the signing- both of our girls learned to sign, primarily from the Signing Time DVDs. We started watching them at about 13 months with Pumpkin, and about 9 months with Petunia. In both cases, we've found the signs reduce tantrums- because they help us understand, so we don't get so many tantrums because the grown ups aren't understanding. We still get plenty of tantrums because the grown ups won't give Petunia her way, though!

    2. Anonymous8:24 AM

      I agree with Postdoc... I lost 40 pounds handling tumors and I became extremely thin. At the beginning I would make fun of it for I was a little overweight, so I was just looking at the positive side: getting to my ideal weight. But then, I just got thinner and thinner. At the beginning some people came to tell me they have barely recognized me and asked what my diet was... and much later on I have heard others commenting that I must had an eating disorder, for I did vomit often - for sometimes at work, people would know I had been sick (although I didn't walk around telling people about my health). I can't even start to explain how bizarre the first comment was (although I could play around with it myself) and how painful the second one was.

      And about the leggings... I rarely used skirts thinking that my legs weren't pretty enough. So oddly,when the roughness of the treatment really reached my life I found myself realizing that it had been really stupid not to allow me to wear this or that because I wasn't perfect. So I started using skirts, leggings and other clothes that didn't cover up my weight-even when it was less weight than I had wished for. It was already hard enough that I had felt oppressed enough not to allow myself to wear skirts and others when I was healthy, so I didn't want to have to be ashamed of loosing weight through treatment and to feel I needed to cover my shame again and my once more "imperfect" body. Actually, I gave me the right to own my body as it was - not to show it off, but to allow myself to wear what I felt like, even if it meant that people would be able to see that I was very thin.

      I am really happy you have felt good on your skin (and I whish we all did, all the time!),but I must admit that I was a little weirdly surprised that it came at the expense of speculation about someone else's thin body and the possibility of eating disorders. I do understand that you didn't mean it this way, but it just came out a lttle weird.

      I have pondered a while before writting here, because you have written about how readers often feel personnaly offended although you are just talking about your own life (and not judging others' lives). But when you did speculate about this woman's weight, it's not only your life anymore and as you've said, you don't know her. We rarely ever know what people are really going through in their lives, so I guess that we should try to be even more delicate than we usually try to be.
      As I saw this wuote (I don't know from whom - some said Plato, others Bob Dylan's grandmother and recently I read some other name...) . "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

      By the way I really appreciate your blog and this "you" we get to know by this blog!

    3. Perhaps I should have said- there are a lot of reasons why she might be so thin. I would not trade my pants fitting too tight and my propensity for eating too many cookies for any of them. But then, I sort of did say that:

      "I realized that I'd rather be in my situation (trying to lose ten pounds) than in hers, any day, whatever the reason for her extreme thinness."

      I am sorry that the mention of the possibility that she had an eating disorder has offended people. To me, it is a medical condition just like having colitis, or cancer, or any other reason that might make you really thin. So when I looked at her and thought she was so thin she might have an eating disorder, it was not a judgement of her at all, it was simply a description, trying to convey how really, really thin she was. I have read and re-read what I wrote, and I do not see the judgement there, either.

      Would it make people feel better if I said she was so thin that I thought she might be undergoing chemo? And if so, why? Why is cancer OK to wonder about, but not an eating disorder? I don't think someone with either should be judged.

    4. Also- it is always OK to comment, as long as you aren't mean about it, and you weren't. If I can't take people's comments on what I write, I shouldn't post what I write!

      Your point about deciding to own your body even if it wasn't what you wanted it to be is a very powerful one.

      I think that seeing her was the catalyst for my realization that I am comfortable in my slightly too big body right now- I do not think that realization was at her expense. But perhaps I did not write about it sensitively enough, particularly since women's weight and body shape is such a loaded topic in our culture.

    5. Anonymous11:00 AM

      Thank you for your reply Cloud... and I do agree with you that an eating disorder is also a health problem. :)

  2. Interesting! Slightly tangential, but for me a big revelation was learning about the different body types, and learning how to dress to flatter my own body type. ie realizing I have strong "inverted triangle" tendencies and very strong shoulders, so learning to dress to flatter the body type I do have (blazers and jackets look great), and stop trying to dress an imaginary hourglass figure that I don't have (which just looks terrible on me and is frustrating). Maybe it's just common sense, but I had never thought about it too much before!

    Interesting too re: signing. Don't have kids yet and things have clearly changed since I was a kid, so I'm always interested in hearing more about what people find works for them in childraising these days!

  3. Texas is one of those places that I'd quite like to go, but I probably have not a hope in hell of getting my husband to. He's just not particularly interested in visiting the USA full stop - unless it involves skiing & even then, I think he'd prefer to go to Canada or Europe.

  4. I grew up in Texas, and we went down to San Antonio/Austin/Corpus Christi for vacation several summers in a row. So if I were planning this vacation - I'd hit San Antonio, you gotta tour the Alamo and hang out on the Riverwalk. Austin is pretty cool, the capitol building is open for tours - but the best thing about Austin is the night life, which maybe the kiddos won't think is so great, but there you have it. You can skip Houston - it's humid and dirty, and it's pretty much just a gate-way to Galveston (which you can also skip, it's there for the cruise ships, but the beaches are ugly).
    Other things in the area - Barton Springs is totally fun with the kids, and so is Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels.
    If you want a beach, head to Corpus Christi and South Padre Island. Don't expect pristine white sand beaches and clear water, cuz this is the Texas coast - but South Padre is clean and not too crowded. There's also a big Navy ship in Corpus that's a popular place to tour with kids (USS Lexington).

    Now I'm getting all nostalgic for childhood vacations! -sigh-

    1. Anonymous6:02 PM

      Totally disagree on Houston-- it is not dirty (some parts are, but that's true of all cities) and they have lots of lovely parks and museums and things to do with children.

    2. @Anonymous- FWIW, my guidebook agrees with you! I may have to visit Houston just to go to a restaurant called Lupe Tortilla, which apparently has a play structure for the kids and margaritas for the grown ups. What's not to love?

    3. If you go to Houston, this is my favorite place:

      Best Chocolate Ice Cream ever.

      They have two locations, one near Rice and one in a residential area.

  5. I would suggest planning more time for Austin than for Houston. My husband grew up in Houston and there's just not much that's fun/kid-friendly there. Because the weather is so unpleasant for outdoor activity most of the year, there aren't lovely parks or outdoor recreational attractions/facilities. Austin, on the other hand, we hear has quite a lot. (Haven't been yet, though Sister-in-Law's family is there.) (As a matter of fact, May in Houston might already be unpleasantly hot and humid.)

  6. If you have the time, go to Schlitterban, if you think the kids would enjoy a water park type place (it's a pretty awesome waterpark, built into and using the river. It's a ton of fun).

    The Riverwalk in San Antonio can be fun, though it can be a little crazy on weekends and evenings. Although, if you like BBQ, I will say run, don't walk, to the County Line and enjoy the brisket for me. But maybe that's just my nostalgia talking.

  7. Mr. Cloud? Mr. C? Mr. Z? Mr. P? He who shall not be named hubby?

    I can't imagine picking Texas as a vacation spot. It seems very hot and flat. Very much like where I live. New Mexico and Arizona sound more exotic than Texas. East coast bias I suppose.

    1. Well, I'm FROM Arizona, so we go there frequently. And we've already been to New Mexico. Mr. Cloud wants to go to a state we haven't been to before. He's collecting them.

      I've been to San Antonio and Houston, and actually had to drive out towards Austin. Not all that flat, really- its Hill Country. (I've been to several other places in Texas, too, as a kid- but that doesn't count because I don't remember much.)

  8. Not sure how I missed you are from Arizona, lol. Texas it is! :)


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